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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  December 1, 2014 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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again next week. all right, that does it for "the cycle." alex wagner starts right now. the president thinks it is important for us to have a broader discussion. ♪ >> ferguson's fallout in the nation's capitol. >> the president is meeting in his cabinet with law enforcement officials, with civil rights leaders. >> the first time president obama meets with the ferguson community. >> president obama is asking for a $263 million development practice, 75 million of which would go for body-worn cameras. >> coming out on to the field with a hands up, don't shoot
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gesture. >> they said trying to show solidarity with the people of ferguson. >> protesters believe that mike em -- michael brown. >> it's not just ferguson. it's important this conversation take place in communities all across the country. >> can good policy make for better policing? just hours ago president obama requested funding for 50,000 police body cameras, a move intended to make law enforcement officials more accountable to the communities they patrol. the white house also plans to make changes to a program that transfers military equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies. later today the president is expected to announce the creation of a new task force charged with recommendations for what is being described as 21st century policing. that commission will be led by philadelphia police commissioner charles ramsey and former justice department official laurie robinson. the president sat down with
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community leaders as well as law enforcement to discuss the path forward. the ferguson commission, a group appointed by missouri governor jay nixon made its foray into the controversy. >> we commit our bests to you, the best of ourselves. we will not get it right every time for everyone but we will give our best. >> last night demonstrators staged a die-in protest in retail stores. players on the st. louis rams raised their arms up in the hands up-don't shoot gesture. after the game, rams' tight end jared cook said "there has to be a change that starts with the people that are most influential around the world." joining me is professor and fellow at the roosevelt
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institute, jamaal dorian. in terms of the white house actions, i think a lot of us applaud the fact that the conversation continues, the debate continues, the efforts continue. is this the right place to start in your mind? >> i think every place is the right place to start, from ferguson to the white house. i mean, this is actually what protests do. they keep issues on the agenda for elected officials to take action. so the president taking this action, the range of executive orders, this commission, i think that's a great, great start and follow-up to what's happened. and we'll have to pay close attention to see what comes of it in terms of actual policy changes. i think it's a great start. we need action all over the place. we had a commission after the l.a. uprising in 1991/'92, a kerner commission in 1967. all of these commissions release reports. what are the actionable items at the end of the day?
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>> right. >> in it was written in the "new yorker" a designing achievement of american bureaucracy is that even assaults on its authority wind up generating more bureaucracy. i am a little disheartened to hear about commissions and task forces, though a shred of optimism persists in that maybe they will, unlike other commissions, be able to get to the root of the problem. your thoughts? >> commissions on one hand often issue reports that go ignored but when commissions have sort of public pressure in front of them, they can, i think, lead to meaningful change. you know, the riots in the 60s, in the late 60s, did -- there
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was reform. if it continues nationwide, you could see the ferguson commission, the president's efforts lead to maybe a broader reconsideration of how we're training police. because i think not just with ferguson but especially with the killer of rice in cleveland, people are asking why is it that police are reaching for their gun so quickly? >> sam, to the specifics of the white house's plans today, i was happy to see the 1033 program at the department of defense is being revisited. perhaps the president is trying to create stops and increase transparency and oversight regarding how and whether state and local law enforcement deploy military grade weaponry. there is also bipartisan movement on the house to perhaps get rid of the 1033 program entirely. do you think there is momentum inside congress to do something about the issue of police
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brutality -- or excessive force among law enforcement? >> it sort of gets back to what jamelle is talking about, the big question is is if these commissions continue. if the public pressure dies down, which it often does, then the impetus to act goes away. so the program that essentially transfers excessive military gear to local law enforcement agencies was a hot topic in the aftermath of the initial ferguson protests in august and we sort of drifted away from the issue. today's announcement that they would look at it a little more, though not get rid of it -- thousa though i think it does require an act of congress -- >> it does. >> it comes down to what's the follow-up? are you going to have a commission with a study and let that die? the sad reality is police sh
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shootings happen a lot. that's a tough, grim hook to base legislate of action upon. i'm not sure if it's going to be effective ultimately. >> this is obviously not something anyone can answer with definition, but do you think that ferguson is a turning point in terms of grass roots activism around this issue, in terms of calling attention to racial biasses, in terms of calling attention to excessive force? >> absolutely. because it's not just about ferguson. if it had stayed in ferguson, we all probably would have gone home. this has become a nationwide movement. >> international. >> there was a report released by the u.n. committee on torture criticizing the u.s. policy. just the symbolic attention on this problem as an international problem, i think that's always helpful in pushing the needle toward policy change.
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>> i want to talk a little bit about how the president has handled this. he did not get high marks for a lot of folks -- from folks in his own party and folks on his progressive left immediately following the grand jury decision. the fact that he's spend being the bulk of his day discussing ferguson and what we need to do to move forward from ferguson is a hopeful sign. we were examining a speech the president made in 2008. i want to read a little bit of an excerpt from it. the way in which he talks about race in this particular speech is very, very different from the way he addresses it now. he said "the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the african-american community does not just exist in the minds of black people that is correct the legacy of discrimination and current incidents of discrimination while less overt than in the past are really and must be addressed, not just with words but with deeds." it is hard to imagine the president so explicitly stating
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the problems are not just in the imaginations of black people, they are real and they're an american problem. >> the thing i always go back to with regards to obama and race is hesitancy to speak on racism and specifically racism from white americans is his 2009 comments about skip gates and skip gates arrest at his home in cambridge. those comments, you know, resulted in a demonstrable and observable decrease and support among white americans. and after that, what you saw was a recurring pattern of obama on the rare occasions he spoke about racism receiving similar hits in public opinion from whites. the president has been bitten so many times on this, he's hesitant to speak. that's not an excuse. i think that at this point in his presidency, all of this is kind of baked into the cake. so i'm not sure he has much to
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lose by being more forthright about racism among whites directed towards black americans, but it's certainly the case that there are political repercussions to talking about this because, frankly, people just don't want to hear that much about it. in talking about it could harm them. >> sam, i want to ask you about that. you're standing as you are on the north lawn of the white house. the president has taken up a lot of things that were potentially libellous. if you talk to folks within the administration, they really bristle that the president has not talked enough on race. at the same time, it has been a complicated issue for him to tackle when he has. do you get a sense in the next two years he may be more forthright in the manner in
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2008. >> the speech up read from, remember the context of that. he had gone through a year long, at that point, primary process in which he very actively avoided framing his candidacy as racially historic, in which he didn't really discuss his own skin color. that speech was given in large part to the outrage over the comments of his reverend, jeremiah wright. he was almost forced into a corner to give that speech. this has been a topic he, for better or worse, hasn't liked to address all that forcefully. the lewis gates comments, a cop barged into a guy's home and arrested him. of course it was outrageous. but when he said that, there was intense backlash. that sort of reaffirmed this belief within the administration that this is a powder keg that is best not to be touched. the president, for better or worse again, is fairly hesitant on many of these issues. >> sam, let me interrupt you.
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on trayvon martin, when he said "if i had a son who looked like trayvon," many arrows were shot at him for that, i thought it was much more an explicitly racial conversation he was having with the country when he talked about women clutching their purses tighter, doors locking, sighs from old women as he walked by, the sort of lingering vestiges of racism that penetrate a black man walking around doing his business in society in america. that was much more explicitly racial and him wading into that conversation than anything he had said before. >> and i give you that and we can probably go through all these instances and dissect each and every one of them. i would say on the whole that this is a very -- this is an administration president who liked to weigh each side before going into something and weighing into something. they're very calculated and for the right reason, about how they engage in these very culturally flash point debates.
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for instance, the quote unquote ground zero mosque, he punted on his own timeline, said he was going to introduce something in august, he punted on that before weighing in on that. this is a white house that is very cautious about going into this. on the whole. >> is the country capable of having an honest conversation about racial bias? plus congress is back in session and has less than two weeks to pass a budget. can john boehner keep his caucus from catching shut down fever? that is not a rhetorical question. and are death threats on facebook criminal? the supreme court is looking to answer that very question. all that coming up next. turn the trips you have to take,
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the fundamental issue is not even necessarily michael brown. it is that this keeps happening to black men. it's that whole issue of driving while black. as long as black people continue to feel you cannot walk down the street without coming under suspicion, this anger is going to continue. >> that was "new york times" reporter helene cooper on "meet the press yesterday." moments later that divide was on full display. >> if you look at the most credible evidence, the lessons are really basic. don't rob a convenience store, don't fight a policeman when he stops you and try to take his gun and when he yells at you to stop with his gun drawn, just stop! >> jamelle, let me just first go
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to you in terms of your thoughts on what rich lowrie said on "meet the press." it's kind of like, hey, just don't do bad stuff and you won't get shot. >> in the specific case of michael brown, it's really worth emphasizing that the narrative is one that fits the evidence presented to the grand jury but it's not the on one that fits the evidence presented to the grand jury. it's very interesting, i think, hour darren wilson's account, which is the one lowrie is using, has become essentially the truth of the matter, despite the fact it's disputed by witnesses, that there are other narratives that fit the same evidence and that we never had a trial to adjudicate which narrative is most plausible. so i think there's a little dishonesty in using that in critically putting forward darren wilson's account as the only possible account. the second thing is that this really is about more than michael brown.
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it's about the many shootings of unarmed black men that have happened this year and over the years. and beyond that it's what is clear from stats and research, a persistent police culture of harassing black men. stop and frisk was only recently ended and it was a program that over a decade held that all black people in the city of new york were criminal suspects unless proven otherwise. to me that's completely reasonable to get upset about. >> to that end, "young black men are shot dead by police 21 times the rate of young white men."
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it shows us the dramatically different ways that black and white people see violence. if we talk about racial polarization, i wonder if we've gotten better in the last half century. the general assumption is that the moral arc of the universe is bending toward justice, hey, look, we have a black president. is it not just that racial stereotyping and bias is more buried underneath the surface but is as potent as ever? >> absolutely it's as potent as ever when you look at the behavior of police officers. there's one thing about attitudes and racial attitudes people have, those often get translated into behavior and in this case deadly behavior by police officers. it's not just white police officers, but police officers of all races who suspect public men, who kill black men lethally when they're unarmed. this is a problem for all of us as americans. but just to go back to the role
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of protest, even in the 60s most americans and especially most white americans disapproved of almost all of protests of the 60s, the good, non-violent protests. we still got policy change and that has to be the focus. changing behavior, changing policies, attitudes will follow along once we do those two things. >> if you talk about unfairness, criminal sentencing reform is something where maybe something will actually happen in washington to ameliorate a bias system. >> this is something people were gaming out what was possible with a republican-run senate and the dark horse issue was criminal justice reform because there are state republicans as
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well as congressional republicans who see it as a logical policy reform to pursue. they look at the incarceration rates and disparity in sentence and the drain on the resources on state and federal budgets and they look at this and say can we do better? they say yes, we can do better, that includes senator rand paul and rick perry. i wouldn't be surprised if in the next congress this is something that people hack away at. presidential politics can overtake this because congress just doesn't get things done anyway. but it is one of those areas of commonality and there aren't many of those areas left. >> indeed we can do better. coming up, two young women in india just took a heroic stand against sexual violence. that video is coming up next.
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fight back, that is the mantra of two young sisters in india whose resistance went viral over the weekend after video surfaced of them single handedly fighting off three men harassing them on a public bus. perhaps more shameful than the harassment themselves, as the girls fought off the molesters with their own belts, others on the bus did absolutely nothing, emblematic of india's doing nothing to fight back against sexual assault. the driver and the conductor of the bus have been suspended and all three lajd attackers have been arrested. it is a small victory in a country where 90% of people think rape is a very big problem and where 74% say the laws in the country are too lax when it comes to punishing rape.
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2015 to avoid future budget shutdowns. but republicans are spoiling for a fight now. some are even calling for the party to cancel the president's state of the union address in january. the idea gaining the most traction is something people seriously calling a cromnibus. it's a dual-bill strategy. one bill would keep the government open through september and the other would fund only through march. back with me is sam stein and joining us is glen thrush of "politico" magazine.
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is it enough to satisfy the base of angry conservatives in the house? >> i'm stunned at that. did you coin that yourself? >> this being reported to me by the talented men and women who put the show on the air. >> it sounds like it's something that can be dealt with with penicillin. i think boehner is going to get away with it this time. the fact that he picked up 18 seats, there seems to be less of an appetite for revolution this time and i think everybody on the scene in the republican conference knows that pantsing your speaker on the eve of one of the biggest victories your party has had in a decade is probably not fantastic politics. my instinct tells me they'll come up with something that will avoid the worst possible scenario. >> on december 11th. we need to end every sentence
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with "on december 11th." let's say they pass a cromnibus? what then happens in march? >> there's very technical questions about whether or not they can actually defund this executive action the president put in place. the executive action itself is based on user fees. in essence, it funds itself. so can congress come in and say, no, we're defunding the implementation of this? maybe not, maybe so. there's been duelling letters. i don't want to bore the audience. they'd probably be more interested in croughnuts. >> that's probably true. >> you're ramping up to 2016. does the party really want to come out there and go to bat to end the deferred deportations for thousands -- hundreds of
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thousands of hispanic families and immigrant families? i don't think so. if i were boehner or mcconnell, i'd like to get this done with now, fund the government for a year, get it out of the system. if there ever was goodwill towards boehner, he grew the majority, he should earn it now and play his chips right now. >> there's a tacit agreement that unwinding this in the legislative process, the immigration executive action, may be impossible. grover norquist suggested republicans actually get their heads together and come up with an alternative to the president's immigration plan but i have a hard time believing that is in any way feasible. >> i think the marijuana legalization thing must be taking over washington -- >> did you prep these lines in advance? >> sorry.
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no, no. >> they're too good. >> last night he was practicing in front of a mirror. i saw him. >> there are not a lot of mirrors in my house, sam. i think the republican leadership in the house really wants to address immigration in one form or another. the folks i've talked to on the republican said in the spring they want to come up with some version of this that at least gives them the ability to say to latino voters that they took some sort of effort at this. they could have done it last year with less political cost. but the feeling is this is unfinished business. i wouldn't be surprised if there was some new framework that boehner and his folks came up with that address this. obviously it would be heavy on the border security stuff and limited exemptions. >> that's the question, they just pass a draconian border security bill, that may push them further back among hispanic americans. >> they would present it in a
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piecemeal form, an eight-step process that 40 years from now we'll finish this process. the question is can boehner even cobble together a majority for that? i don't think any democrat in the house would buy a piecemeal proposal and a lot of republicans wouldn't either. it would be tough for him to legislate that. i wouldn't put much face in house republicans pass ig anything in this juncture considering they've had over two years to get their act together on this, too. >> we're talking about boehner maybe being in control of what he terms the wheelbarrow full of frogs that he termed the republican conference in the house. what are the democrats, though? chuck schumer came out, there's a lot of relitigating the past, whether or not democrats focus too much in the past, schumer has theoretically brought in mark warner to be a centrist
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democrat, to balance out the left tilt of elizabeth warren. do you foresee more intra party battling on the left side of the aisle in the coming months? >> i'm really fascinated between this conflict between the white house and the senate. since the story that "the times" wrote about flouting the president, there's been more or less open warfare. on the tax extender stuff, the white house has been flaming senate democrats. and chuck schumer's speech was not particularly appreciated in the west wing either. a lot of people were wondering whether or not this was sort of an act of desperation for a guy who is having a little difficulty within his own conference. i think the real action to watch is not so much necessarily among the democrats in the senate but the white house versus the senate. i think that could -- has the potential, at least in the next couple of months to get pretty
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nasty. >> sam, on that note beyond the budget showdown on september 11th, there is, as glen said, the tax, tende extenders, the e funding, and the question is whether it can get done in the lame duck session and during the process of it getting done exacerbates tensions. >> i say it as someone who doesn't celebrate christmas. i think the ebola funding question is like a microcosm for everything here, right? you had a crisis a couple weeks ago that receded from the headlines and suddenly you're facing the prospect of having the president's emergency request going completely unfunded because congress can't get its act together in passing an omnibus and falling back on a continuing resolution. so there are a number of
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priorities that you have to address in a dwindling amount of time and how they go about doing it is really complicated. right before we came on air, senator reid's office said he wanted a deal on the tax extenders that included an extension of the earned income tax credit. that's one of these things that the white house seems to have got i don't know senate democrats in line a little bit more, i should say. but there a whole number unanswered questions till is to answer out there. >> if the house did go to a cromnibus, does that split the democratic caucus? what do democrats do? >> sam was talking about the earned income tax credit. it's one of the radar but it's one of the most important entitlement programs out there. i guess it just depends on what's in there. i still believe the white house is calling the tune here, if
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obama gets together with pelosi on something, it may be very hard for the house to bridele on it. if the votes are there on the republican side in the senate, stuff will get passed. i think obama still has enough control to herd the cats or the frogs on that side. >> so many metaphors in this segment, gentlemen. maybe cromnibus for some, croughnuts for everyone. >> sounds delicious. >> thanks, alex. >> coming up, following a brutal crackdown on demonstrators in hong kong, police warn that protesters who return will face, quote, resolute action. that is just ahead.
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can chatter on facebook be considered criminal? the supreme court hears a major case on free speech and social media. more on that coming up next. but first josh lipton has the cnbc market wrap. hi, josh. >> hi, alex. starks declined on monday due to a lackluster start to the holiday shopping season. the dow doesn't 51 points, s&p fell 14, the nasdaq dropped 64 points, snapping it's longest streak since april. sheets per spill the roll just disappeared. i knew i should've bought bounty bounty is 2x more absorbent and strong when wet. just look how much longer bounty lasts
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we're comcast. the only isp legally bound by full net neutrality rules. three days after her husband was reinstated into the nfl, janay rice is speaking out for the first time about what happened in that atlantic city
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elevator this past february when she was knocked unconscious by her husband. >> prior to what we have now seen in that elevator, was there ever any incident of violence in your relationship with ray, or has there been any incident of violence since that elevator incident? >> no. no. there's no way. he knows what he would have to deal with if this was something -- i'm not going to sit there in silence and let something happen to me and god forbid in front of my child. and just let it happen? there's no way. everybody makes mistakes. after this whole situation, i -- would you think that we lived in a country full of people who never made a mistake. >> tomorrow the "today" show will air an interview with ray rice himself. his reinstatement into the nfl comes at a time when violence is
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in the headlines. over at the supreme court this morning, justices heard a case involving threats from a man using facebook to harass his ex-wife. the court will decide whether threatening communications on facebook can be classified as a crime. joining me now is staff writer at the "new york times" magazine, emily bazalon. this is a man who posted that he wanted to see her soaked in blood and dying. the case seems to hinge on a concept of true threat. can you sort of explain to everybody what true threat practically means. >> that's the question the sport will be deciding in this case. and at issue here is the legal standard for determining a true threat. if you're sitting on a jury and
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you're trying to decide whether to convict a guy like this one, do you think about his facebook post from the point of view of the impact on the viewer, on tara elonis, who was reading it, do you think it was reasonable for her to fear him? or do you think about whether he specifically intended to threaten harm? in other words, is it his perspective and what he says about what he meant or is it the effect it had on the person who was reading the post and was the target? >> you've written about that specifically. the choice in this case is between points of view, his or hers. it has also garnered some strange bedfellows on different sides of the coin here because it intersects with social media and freedom of speech concerns. how does the fact that this is happening on facebook inform the debate around this? >> obviously we want the internet to be a place where there's lots of room for free speech. the problem with threats are is
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they really do disrupt other people's lives. people who are the subject of threats may struggle to eat and sleep. they may feel like they have to leave their homes because they're not safe there. and so that's the sort of tension here. on the internet there's obviously lots and lots of opportunity to say different things, including to post threats in a public way that we didn't really have to the same degree before the internet. and also when people put up posts that you don't get tone of voice and you don't get cues from looking at swann face to face. so that can make it harder to judge what they really mean and harder to tell if a threat is serious. >> the justices are increasingly ruling on digital and technology issues and the supreme court has, shall we say, is not known for its embrace of 21st century technology. in terms of how they digest a case like this, what are your thoughts? and any thoughts about who, you know, which justices would maybe have a tendency based on
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previous decisions to side with either of the elonises? >> i think this case is somewhat of a question mark for the justices in general. this is a very pro, big first amendment interpretation, pro free speech court. we may see liberal and conservative justices airing on the side of giving more breathing room to free speech. you're right that they're not necessarily masters of technology. i can't imagine they have their own facebook pages -- >> i feel like they don't even communicate by e-mail, if that's correct. >>en. they like to fax a lot. do you remember faxes? but hopefully they all have people in their lives, young are clerks, relatives, older relatives, who do use social media and i am sure at this point they know what it is. >> emily, one of the things we just talked about, the idea of him versus her, it feels like we're at a particular moment. earlier in this hour we announced bill cosby had step
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down from the board of temple university, ray and general yea rice are in the head lines tonight and will be tomorrow on the "today" show. i think in terms of the sort of balance between the victim and the accused, it feels like for the first time broadly as and perhaps the burden of proof is shifting less from the victim's corner. i don't know if you could agree with that. either way, do you think the court will view this before taking up the issue in the future? >> one of the allegations against bill cosby is they weren't made in court. these were old sors, cosby was never convicted but we're still taking what these women are taking seriously. in part because there's a real
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pattern and that makes it credible and also because it's move from the tabloids into the mainstream media. i think that helps women feel that it more acceptable to come forward. it will be interesting to see how courts deal with that new sense of recognition and awareness. >> i feel like also specifically to go back to the alonis -- i guess we wonder when we think about the court handing out this decision, it seems like it could be pretty far reaching and pretty seismic in terms of what it dictates in terms of social media and responsibilities on social media. >> i think that's a really good point. in the elonis case, you're talking about the context of a fail marriage or relationship. in gamer gate, there were these
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anonymous death threats online, they were coming from people they didn't know and people felt fear and left their homes. the court's decision will presumably relate to both of them. >> emily bazelon, thanks for your time. >> thank you. >> coming up, we'll have the latest from the ferguson meeting coming up next. [ narrator ] mama sherman and the legion of super fans.
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you're the rock, at 60. silent night not so silent? elk bellow sleep number's even got an adjustment for that. give the gift of amazing sleep only at a sleep number store. this week only, save 50% on the ultimate limited edition bed. know better sleep with sleep number. i was out for a bike ride. i didn't think i'd have a heart attack. but i did. i'm mike, and i'm very much alive. now my doctor recommends a bayer aspirin regimen to help prevent another heart attack. be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. we are hurting. we don't expect you all to come up with a miracle. that's why we're here, to support you. but don't waste our time with the same innuendos and the same rhetoric. we don't want to hear it. >> that was the scene just moments ago from today's meeting of the ferguson commission. minutes into the public comment portion of the meeting, tension was on full display.
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>> but what am i suppose to tell my 16-year-old son, and my son is not a thug, it's deeper, it's a mindset. i know your hearts are in the right place, we're not trying to shoot y'all down but how are you going to change the mindset when the people who don't have to stand up are at the top? >> that is all for now. i'll see you back here tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. eastern. the "ed show" is coming up next. good evening, americans. welcome to "the ed show" live from new york. let's get to work. >> blacks commit murder eight times more per capita than any other group. >> look at that, hands up, don't
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shoot. >> hands up, don't shoot! >> all of this unrest is getting out of hand. >> we're talking about the exception here. it's a very rare exception when a white kills a black. >> hands up! >> don't shoot! >> even nfl players are getting in on the protests on the field. >> we wanted to come out and show our respect. >> that was usually irresponsible and highly disrespectful. >> a young man lost his life. >> 93% of blacks -- >> black people who kill black people go to jail. >> i'd like to see if dr. dyson has saved as many lives in his community as i've saved. >> good to have you with us tonight, folks. thanks for watching. let's mixes two. al davis, the former owner of the oakland raiders used to say the nfl is part of our american culture. we found that out over the weekend. so p


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